AUSTIN (KXAN) — Throughout a City of Austin investigation, officers concluded an Austin Animal Solutions personnel misused town methods and abused their placement by recording and putting up video clips of shelter animals to their revenue-earning personal social media account.
According to the metropolis, the staff also abused their situation when they utilized the accessibility to shelter animals to extend their social media followers, and the employee then questioned those people followers to make donations for a non-public price.
In an investigation report, the city’s auditor’s workplace reported it been given a grievance in July 2021 about the personnel. The worker experienced been with Austin Animal Products and services because June 2019, in accordance to the report.
The investigation established the employee misused the city’s time when they employed get the job done time to make video clip content for their personal social media account.
In accordance to the employee, following uploading several movies of shelter animals, the amount of followers on the account grew. The variety of followers sooner or later achieved 1.9 million, as the personnel ongoing to post about shelter animals.
“Due to [the] big selection of followers, in early 2021 [the employee] was capable to apply and be acknowledged into a social media plan that authorized [them] to generate dollars from [the] films,” the investigation report said. “This incorporated earning income on video clips of animals at the shelter.”
The report explained the worker earned about $8,000 involving January 2021 and November 2021.
The employee explained to the city when they began publishing videos of the shelter animals, they would record and submit any where concerning 30 to 40 brief movies a day though at perform, with every single movie long lasting in between 1 and 3 minutes.
“[The employee’s] position as an animal care worker gave [them] immediate obtain to the shelter services and its animals that would not be obtainable to a member of the basic community or a further social media influencer,” the town mentioned in the report.
The city also found out that staff received gifts from retail makes to advertise their products in addition to earning funds from the account. 1 of the makes was found to market doggy beds, and the staff admitted to putting up movies marketing the no cost items they acquired.
“Though Animal Providers administration, which includes [the employee’s] supervisor and an govt, sooner or later authorized of [the employee] creating video clips at perform, they have been not aware [they] experienced built money from the video clips [they] posted on social media,” the city’s report explained.
The town did not explain in the report if the dollars the worker earned as a result of the video clips was used for particular reward or if it was applied to profit the shelter or animals.
The investigation also concluded the personnel applied their massive social media following for personalized acquire.
“On at minimum a single event, [the employee] made and posted a video clip asking for donations for a private healthcare expense,” the town said. “[The employee] been given modest sums of dollars from a number of donors by a hard cash trade system for this reason.”
In an added observation part from the report, investigators observed the Animal Providers administration division was not concerned with the employee utilizing their position at the shelter to report movies and post them on their personalized account partly since they viewed as this valuable advocacy for the animals.
Investigators reported administration was much more involved about the personnel publishing inaccurate information about the animals fairly than whether or not she was earning dollars from her movies.
“Animal Providers management could have met the exact same plans as a result of a Metropolis-owned account. This would have diminished the risk for misuse and abuse to occur,” investigators said.